How e-commerce has adapted to the new normal

by Joseph K. Clark

With the increase in online shopping, the e-commerce sector has reimagined the customer experience by providing a mall-like in-store experience.

By Raghav Sood

The COVID-19 pandemic has widely altered the retail and e-commerce sectors in India. Though the year wasn’t great from a business standpoint, the e-commerce sector saw a boom in sales. The pandemic transformed how consumers shop by accelerating massive digital adoption nationwide. Research states that 86% of Indians adopted online shopping during the pandemic, accelerating the adoption of e-commerce across consumers of all age categories.

During the pandemic onset, the e-commerce sector was trying to adjust itself to the behavioral changes in consumers, coping with unprecedented demand for items and the courier restrictions in containment zones. Right now, they have adapted to the new normal.


With the increase in online shopping, the e-commerce sector has reimagined the customer experience by providing a mall-like in-store experience. This involves leveraging big data to recommend similar products, sending customized emails, analyzing customer behavior, and recommending personalized suggestions based on their browsing history. They have also focused on providing customers with detailed product details to make the right choice and offering huge discounts.

Seizing the opportunity for lasting growth, the e-commerce players have also expanded their capacity to accommodate more sellers and the structural shift in consumer behavior.

The new norm fuelled a surge in healthcare supplies, electronic products for working and learning from home, groceries, and personal grooming products. With orders piling up, e-commerce upped the game by improving logistics and hiring more staff to meet the surge. As a result, the last quarter of 2020 saw a 36% increase in order volume.

Many retail stores also came on board with established companies like Amazon, Flipkart, and others to leverage digital technologies and reach customers to sustain their business. Apart from this, many new companies have set up independent online stores. Many online players have also leveraged technology to aid first-time shoppers by introducing facilities like voice assistants with a vernacular interface.

Another challenge the e-commerce sector faced last year was planning deliveries in the “containment zones and red zones”. They had to configure their systems amidst the shortfalls. This made them form tie-ups with other industry leaders, paving the way for more expansion. Here are a few examples of such adaptations in recent times.

  • Our homegrown e-commerce giant Flipkart announced a commercial collaboration with Adani Group in April 2021 to boost the company’s logistics and data center capabilities. This alliance is expected to create about 2,500+ direct jobs in India.
  • Zomato entered a tie-up with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) in Feb 2021 to onboard 300 street food vendors on its platform. This initiative empowers them to harness the power of e-commerce and go digital. This initiative is initially set to encompass six cities where street benefits will be helped with PAN and FSSAI registration and trained on digital app usage.
  • Future Group’s retail chain Big Bazaar, which launched its two-hour instant delivery service in April, has now touched 50,000 orders per day, reaching half its initial target of 100,000 orders per day in two months.

There have been many such cross-industry tie-ups that have played a significant role in revolutionizing the e-commerce sector. Apart from this, last year saw the e-commerce platforms encourage their customers to pay digitally by offering rewards, discounts, and cashback options to reduce the dependence on the cash-on-delivery system.

Though undoubtedly, e-commerce has adapted to the new normal, I would say the changes are here to stay even when the world returns to normalcy. The best is yet to come. Let’s wait for it.

The author is a co-founder of Skin Elements. Views expressed are personal.

Get live Stock Prices from the BSE, NSE, and US Market, and the latest NAV and portfolio of Mutual Funds; check out the newest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by using an Income Tax Calculator, know the market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

telegramBandwagon is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest brand news.

Related Posts